I read a lot of Christian marriage books when I was younger, but after Hannah and I were married, I felt really disillusioned, discovering that most of the books were full of generalizations and personal issues that the authors struggled with. I assumed that because a marriage book had been written by someone who had been married for 30 years, it must mean that they had the inside scoop on what marriage was all about. However, within the first month of our marriage, Hannah and I quickly realize that marriage didn’t fit into the tidy box of pre-written marriage advice and here’s why:
“Marriage is solely about you or your spouse.” No, it’s not. Actually, it’s not about either of you. A good friend of mine writes, “The Purpose of Marriage is not your spouse’s happiness. The Purpose of Marriage is not your happiness. The Purpose of Marriage is not to save money by sharing bills. The Purpose of Marriage is not to secure sex for life. The Purpose of Marriage is not to have children. The Purpose of Marriage is, and only ever will be, to put on display the glorious commitment of a totally perfect God, to totally imperfect people. The Purpose of Marriage is God. The only ground on which a marriage can withstand is God. Every other thing will fail.”
“A woman is the most influential person in a man’s life.” Isn’t this just a little incomplete? Doesn’t it stand to reason that a husband is the most influential person in his wife’s life as well? I spend more time with Hannah than I do with any other person, and just being around her, I know that I have the ability to build her up or crush her. Our words and attitudes towards each other help shape us into who we are.
“Date nights are one of the most important things you can do for your marriage!” “Get in your date nights now, before you have kids, because you’ll miss them later on!” Did anyone think through the fact that most young married couples don’t have the cash to go out on dates all the time? I mean, we enjoy date nights as much as anyone else, because they allow us to have fun in our marriage, but we have to be realistic about them as well. Sometimes good conversations have been more important to us than a date night ever could have been.
That being said, we do continue to date each other, and we really enjoy the company Love Nourished created by our friend, Laura Radniecki. Her product, Date Night in a Bag has a lot of great ideas that are usually free and very special. We worked with Love Nourished through Typeset Design to create their packaging, and Laura is continuing to develop new products to draw couples closer together and they make great Christmas presents!
Marriage advice changes as seasons change.
I do have to give a full disclaimer here: even though I’ve been writing since before I was able to drive, I’ve only been married going on three months. I’m not trying to give marriage advice, I’m just working through my marriage and trying to understand how to do life. Even in the time we’ve been together, Hannah and I have seen so much change in the people that we are, in our very character, that it’s hard to imagine us as the same people that we were when we started to date each other. Change in a relationship is good and healthy and we are continually morphing as people, so at some point, these marriage tips may actually be helpful to us. The bottom line is that a good marriage should reflect a good relationship with Christ, and Christ, through the Holy Spirit, is constant to change us, bring us closer to Him, and transform us into the likeness of himself. As we continue to focus on Him, He is faithful to work in and through us, transforming our hearts and strengthening our marriage.